What is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy for Addiction?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy, like the one offered through my Florida Dialectical Behavior Therapy, is a skills-based treatment aimed at helping you achieve balance in your emotions and relationships. This form of therapy was first developed in the 1980s by psychologist Marsha M. Linehan as a means to help people with borderline personality disorder learn to better cope with their mental health concerns, but has since been integrated into a number of other treatment processes. The main goal of my Florida Dialectical Behavior Therapy is to help my clients identify and change negative thoughts patterns that may be hindering their ability to live a full and happy life, and move these thought patterns and behaviors towards healthier and more positive ones.

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People seeking treatment often feel trapped in certain patterns of behavior or ways of thinking, which they find very difficult to break. These patterns may have persisted for years and in a sense have become a working part of the person’s life. Due to this attempting to change these patterns on their own can prove to be exceedingly difficult, or which is very often the case, many clients may even be unaware of the negative thought and patterns that are impeding their own happiness. They may only be conscious of the fact that something within their life is not correct, or they may feel that they are not achieving their full potential, but they may totally unaware as to where to start. Luckily, navigating these issues and getting to the root of them is where my Florida Dialectical Behavior Therapy comes in.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy teaches practical skills for everyday use that will help you create positive changes in your thoughts and behaviors, while helping you move towards living a fuller life. Throughout the course of therapy you will begin to identify the sort of thought patterns and actions that are counterproductive to your own happiness and learn how to implement new thoughts and actions that aide you in your life.

In order to accomplish this, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, focuses on the fostering of four skill sets, that when applied to your life can promote healthy change. These are skills that can be used at any time of the day and in any place, and with a little bit work they can become almost like second nature. You will not have to give much thought or effort to recognizing that old patterns of thoughts or actions are cropping up, and you will be able to shift focus without much effort.

What are the Components to DBT?

The four skill sets that are taught during the course of my Florida Dialectical Behavioral Therapy include:

Mindfulness:

Mindfulness is learning to be fully present in each moment without judgment. This allows you to not only leave the past where it is and not project into the future, but it also will allow you to be more gentle with yourself and not judge your thoughts and feelings so harshly.

Distress Tolerance:

Distress Tolerance is learning how to manage pain in difficult situations when you cannot change the circumstances. There are certain times in life when we will experience pain and unfortunately it is unavoidable. What these situations will look like, will differ from person to person, but through distress tolerance skills, anyone can learn to cope and even thrive through the more difficult situations that life can throw at them.

Interpersonal Effectiveness:

Interpersonal Effectiveness is learning to effectively communicate your needs and wants to others while maintaining your self-respect and relationships. Having effective interpersonal skills is a key to living a balanced life. Through being able to communicate with others what you need and you want, you will be able to remove a lot of confusion and distress that can occur within relationships. Not only this, but through effective communication skills you can begin to break some of the negative patterns of behavior that often arise due to a breakdown of communication.

Emotion Regulation:

Emotion Regulation is learning how to identify, change, and manage emotions that are causing you difficulty. Often times people who seek out DBT have trouble breaking the cycle of negative emotions. They can sometimes get stuck in an emotion for an extended period of time, long past the time when the emotion served its purpose. Through emotion regulation you can begin to identify this pattern within yourself and learn how to change or manage your emotions so that they do not rule your thought life as much.

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Through the regular practice of Dialectical Behavior Therapy skills coupled with an awareness of your urges, emotions, and daily interactions, you will find an increased ability to cope with life’s stressors. No longer will you have to result to old patterns of thoughts and behaviors that no longer serve you. You will be able to use the skills given to you through Dialectical Behavior Therapy in order to create balance in your life and in turn create meaningful relationships and a fuller life.